Summer Travel Tips

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Summer is upon us which means vacations and trips. I look forward to our family vacations but they can be stressful if I allow them to be. Here are some things I do to make sure the travelling and destination are as enjoyable as I imagined.

1. Be realistic about your trip. Do not over plan because kids throw everything off. If you try to pack too much in, everyone will get exhausted and cranky. Do not expect too much and you will be happier. So what if you cannot see everything you wanted to see, the point is that you had fun seeing and doing what you did.

2. Do not overpack! This is a rookie mistake for most parents but you just end up burdening yourself with way more than you need and way more than you can handle. If you learn to travel with less, your baby will adapt to change faster which makes future travelling a lot easier.

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3. Take advantage of technology while travelling. I severely limit my kid’s screen time at home but when we are on long car drives or on the plane I let them have the iPads and live up their screen time. I figure why disturb the peace. If they are happy then I am happy and so is everyone around us (fellow flight passengers). Do not stress yourself over how much screen time they are getting because remember, it is not forever, it is just until you get to your destination.

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4. Make sure your kids get their nap. Try to stick to their sleep times or they will be overtired and fussy and so will you.

5. Pack plenty of food and drinks. You never know if your flight will be delayed, so make sure you have enough to keep their bellies full. Snacks that take a while to eat are the best because it is entertainment as well as satisfying (peeling string cheese, eating raisins 1 by 1, grapes 1 by 1 etc…). Avoid high sugary snacks, the sugar will just give them a temporary high but the crash will be a disaster.

6. Take a first aid kit – you never know when you will need it. The kit should contain over the counter medicines, bandages (large and small), first aid ointment, doctor’s contact info and insurance cards.

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7. When possible, give your children the opportunity to run around at the airport before getting on the plane or after getting off the plane . Do not rush off to baggage claim right away so your kids can stand around and wait for bags then get right back into a car, taxi or shuttle. Give them 10 minutes to let loose at the airport. If driving, take frequent stops, even if just for 10 minutes to let your kids stretch their legs.

8. Visit your local dollar store and surprise your kids with a bunch of fun new toys and knick knacks in the car or on the plane. If you are up for it, wrap up each small toy to build up more excitement about each new toy. The greatest thing is if the toys are lost or get broken then there is not much loss.

9. Pack older items (old socks, old t-shirts etc…) so when the trip is over you can toss those older items and either make space for purchases or just lighten your load for the trip home (less laundry at home too).

10. Enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Make the journey exciting for your child so it is not the constant “are we there yet?” If driving, plan for sights along the way so there is something to constantly look forward to. If flying, ask if the kids can see the cockpit and meet the pilot. Do what you can to make it exciting all along.

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing and fun. Try not to come back more tired than you left because as it is you will have work unpacking and cleaning so if the trip was at least what you wanted it to be then the work at home will seem less burdensome.